Wine & Beer

A Little Bit Of Latte

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A Latte can be a sacred thing. From the perfection of the frothing to the ease of the espresso and the happy marriage that separates it from being an every day cappuccino. A latte is a big deal. As someone who loves the perfect latte with just the right amount of frothing on top and a healthy heart of creamy milky goodness, I’m a bit of a latte critic. Sadly, like many, we are forced to do a Starbucks run for coffee that lacks the heart and nurturing you get from a REAL cup o’joe.

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Cava Siglos

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It was 8.30pm. The hinterland when it is too late to drink horchata and too early to get lost in booze and tapas. Cava Siglos just looked too tempting, with its elegant glow radiating out, into Calle de Caballeros. My eyes adjusted to the twinkling delights in front of me as I watched the bar man muttering to himself, uncorking a fancy looking bottle of rioja The first row of spirits was a guided world tour of the history of gin. And above that towered a walled labyrinth of sherry, whisky, everything – all prize fighters of distilled majesty.

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First Annual Bite at the Beach

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Beyond the studio’s guard post, at which a cluster of security officers are checking driver license’ and writing down names, sits a long, lonely road–one which must be traveled by foot— manned on both sides by volunteers sporting white shirts with “Bite at the Beach” emblazoned across the chest in bold blue and orange hues. One of said volunteers catches my eye, points to a white tent further down, and answers before I can ask: “The party’s thataway!”

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La Cosecha Paso Robles

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On site is La Cosecha Owner, Carole MacDonal – wife to Executive Chef + Restaurateur Santos MacDonal (acclaimed for his culinary mastery at many of Los Angeles’ finest restaurants). Carole is, much like her yellow tunic suggests, bright and full of sunshine. Her demeanor is calm and friendly and it’s clear she’s no stranger to media (a Hollywood Producer of some of the biggest shows on television). She explains that there are a few must-try items…

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Wine for 5 Days You Say?

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Paso Robles is one of California’s most beautiful little secrets – though now, after being named the wine region to watch – it is a city making an impact. And producing some of the most illustrious wines! I have been invited to go visit the region for an entire week so next week you can expect to see some photos that will make you salivate from the vineyards to the helicopter wine tasting tour to delicious cuisine. I will be spending a week at the beautiful Villa San Juliette with one stop at Summerwood Resort & Winery. For those of you who want to experience something truly magnificent, I encourage you to purchase tickets. There are a few left and the Event begins Wednesday with a grand gala Saturday night.

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Antonello Ristorante: Service Done Right

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We begin our evening with Veuve Clicquot … that beautiful yellow label that introduces you to a world of crisp bubbly delight and fresh bread served with their version of “salsa verde” consisting of garlic, serrano peppers, cilantro, parsley, capers, anchovies, and olive oil. (The bread and salsa verde burst with flavor.)

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SouthCoast Winery

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TEMECULA, CA – Temecula has become Southern California’s winery go-to and rightfully so. With a plenitude of land, vegetation and temperate climate, it’s no wonder there is an accelerated movement in both farm-to-table as well as wineries popping up all the time. Among them of course is the revered Winery, Resort, and Day Spa, South Coast Winery and the notable Chef Jason Rivas.

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Dinner with Winemaker Piergiorgio Castellani

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ORANGE COUNTY, CA – As I approach the Antonello Ristorante entrance, the warm, humid temperatures and blustering Santa Ana winds are painting beads of sweat across my face. My guest and photographer for the night is snapping photos—his striped tie fluttering in the breeze on a warm Southern California evening. It is both our first time dining here at Antonello Ristorante, a highly-acclaimed Italian restaurant and landmark of Orange County for the past three decades, boasting an authentic menu and impressive wine list that captures Old World sensibilities.

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David Arthur + Laura Long of David Arthur Vineyards

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Soon after that event, I ran into David at the Pacific Wine Food & Wine Festival. The one thing you should know about David is he is one of the nicest men you’ll meet and he is a sheer pleasure to talk to. He has this uncanny magnetic draw that makes you want to stay and talk about wine, life, and really, anything as long as possible! He invited me to join him and his group of travelers and friends at Newport Beach’s 3Thirty3 and I happily did. I arrived and was sat inside with David and Antonello’s Sommelier Steve Ebol, a familiar face, Thaddeus Forret, and a group of David’s friends and colleagues. We all enjoyed wines that David graciously brought and poured because to him, what is the point of being around friends if you don’t enjoy wine, share stories and just live in the moment?!

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Chronic Cellars Masquerade Ball

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The room is dimly lit with hues of reds and blacks, tables adorned with black linens, subtle lighting, stacks and stacks of barrels aged with time and fastened with story, a couple of couches strategically placed on the cold concrete floor, a photo booth for secrets and fun, and a V-shaped bar. Bottles of Chronic’s Bubbles – Spritz & Giggles, Reds – 2011 Ricardo Grande, late harvest Tranquilo, 2011 The Unteachables, and what I think is their bottle of 2012 Stone Fox line the bar top. At the pivoted corner? A neon lit Sangria fountain. Behind that, the man in the green mask (and bartenders) but him – well, HE is JOSEPH! I am elated!

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